THE SWAN INN
Worcester Road, Upton Warren,
Tel: 01905 861213
LIKE an old comfy chair the Swan at Upton Warren, near Droitwich, is a place where you can take pleasure in knowing what you are going to get before you take your seat.
The former coaching house loses none of its charm by having a thoroughly modern decor which takes its cue from a boutique hotel.
Too often, pubs like this fall into the trap by playing to a type with exposed wooden beams – and all they do is end up being pokey, but I am happy to say the feel of the Swan is welcoming, modern and cosy, emphasising its old charms rather than supplanting them.
First impressions were all very good and barman Jonathon also impressed. Although the bar was busy he was unhurried, efficient and pleasant.
The menu is extensive; there is a children’s menu too, also themed offer events such as Curry Night (4pm to 10pm) on Wednesdays and a two-course Sunday lunch from £8.65, as well as light bites and sandwiches.
We ordered at the bar, choosing Asian nachos with sticky chilli beef to share (£6.35) for starters.
This unusual dish was homecooked spicy prawn crackers topped with sticky chilli hoisin beef, cheddar cheese, cucumber, spring onion, cream of horseradish and sesame seeds.
The dish however, was not the complete success we had hoped.
Its presentation could have been better – the beef had been chopped into fairly thick hunks, – and neither the flavours of the chilli nor hoisin sauce were obvious.
Also, despite some lengthy indepth scrutiny – we must have looked very strange to fellow diners – neither of us could find evidence of the horseradish cream.
But the dish was hot, not too chewy, we didn’t have to wait long for its delivery and it did set us up for the main meals.
An important point to make here is that about half the main course options are two for £10, which in the run-up to Christmas and with belt-squeezing becoming a professional occupation for most of us at the moment, is a welcome relief. Just think, you can feed a family of four for £20 at the Swan Inn.
I had a double-stack beef and bacon burger – only one rasher – and chips (£7.95).
There was plenty to fill a big appetite, in fact – a word of warning if you decide to have starters and desserts – the main meals are designed to be enough as a single portion filler, so ask the serving staff for advice.
My companion ordered Texan pork escalope (£8.75), which was a breadcrumbed serving of meat topped with barbecue sauce and a slice of melted cheese, served with chips and salad.
The sauce was fine, if a little tart after a while, and the salad was fresh.
In both cases the chips were a touch soggy for our liking but it was never going to be a dealbreaker.
To finish off, I had sticky toffee pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (£3.70) which tasted nice and looked the part.
My companion had a raspberry meringue sundae that looked far more impressive. It quickly disappeared and tasted sweet and “yummy”.
Drinks were glasses of Coca- Cola and the whole bill came in at just under £30.
HOW IT RATED
Value for money: 5